My View: Of Course We Tortured, Abu Ghraib and US Torture Policy

Share:

abughraib

This week I was taken back to a different time and a different place in my life. The Senate Report on the CIA’s torture, lies and coverup brought me back nearly a decade in time.

The New York Times on Tuesday wrote, “The world has long known that the United States government illegally detained and tortured prisoners after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and lied about it to Congress and the world. But the summary of a report released Tuesday of the Senate investigation of these operations, even after being sanitized by the Central Intelligence Agency itself, is a portrait of depravity that is hard to comprehend and even harder to stomach.”

The Times notes that the report again raises the question as to “why no one has ever been held accountable for these seeming crimes — not the top officials who set them in motion, the lower-level officials who committed the torture, or those who covered it up, including by destroying videotapes of the abuse and by trying to block the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of their acts.”

Furthermore, “The C.I.A. assured Congress that the behavior of the secret jailers and interrogators was nothing like the horrors the world saw at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. That was the closest the agency seems to have come to the truth — what happened appears to have been worse than what took place at Abu Ghraib.”

This week, Eric Fair wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, “I Can’t Be Forgiven for Abu Ghraib.”

“I was an interrogator at Abu Ghraib. I tortured,” he writes. “Abu Ghraib dominates every minute of every day for me. In early 2004, workers inside Abu Ghraib were scrambling to cover the murals of Saddam Hussein with a coat of yellowish paint. I accidentally leaned up against one of those walls. I still wear the black fleece jacket with the faded stain. I still smell the paint. I still hear the sounds. I still see the men we called detainees.”

He spoke of his experience with students in a classroom who did not really recall Abu Ghraib. He writes, “It was my first encounter with a generation that doesn’t consider the release of the Abu Ghraib photographs to be a critical moment in their lives. I don’t fault them. They were in elementary school at the time. It’s something for history books. It’s something their parents talk about. It’s an answer on a test.

“As I looked at their blank faces, I realized I could let myself feel a powerful sense of relief. Abu Ghraib will fade. My transgressions will be forgotten. But only if I allow it.”

For me, Abu Ghraib, as I think about it today, was probably a critical turning point in my life even though I was not involved in the transgressions. I remember when the photos were released, the shock and dismay.

But for me, it was in the summer of 2005 where the real impact hit me. I was a graduate student and enrolled in a summer program on Political Psychology at Stanford University. I spent a good portion of my summer in Palo Alto and the course was led by prominent political scientists and psychologists at Stanford who also brought in a number of experts.

stanford-prison-exp

One of these experts was Professor Philip Zimbardo. Professor Zimbardo will likely be best known for his 1971 research that became known as the Stanford Prison Experiment. He was able to connect the results he had discovered nearly 35 years earlier to the mentality at Abu Ghraib.

In fact, he served as an expert witness during the Abu Ghraib trial. He showed us many photos – far worse than the ones that have made it to the public. Photos I still have that I still don’t believe have been published.

In 1971, he accidentally discovered that, under specific conditions, ordinary people can willingly engage in horrifying acts. The research, which would be illegal today, gave us tremendous insight into atrocities such as occurred during the holocaust in Germany before and during World War II, and more recently at Abu Ghraib.

Twenty-four students were selected to play the roles of prisoners and to live in a mock prison.  The roles were randomly designed and what happened is that the participants ended up adapting to their roles far beyond what the experiment was intended, to the point where many of the “officers” engaged in authoritarian behavior and even began torturing the “prisoners.”

Professor Zimbardo acknowledged that the experiment even impacted his own conduct and permitted the abuse to continue until a number of the prisoners quit the experiment early and the experiment itself was ended after just six days.

Professor Zimbado’s research changed the way research was conducted and also gave us insights into what he referred to as a situational attribution of behavior, rather than a dispositional attribution.

For Professor Zimbardo this meant that otherwise good people could be “corrupted by the behavioral context, by powerful ‘situational forces,’ ” as opposed to dispositional behavior which would be explained more by personal pathologies, character defects and sadistic personalities.

face-of-evil

This research immediately led insight into the holocaust, where there was a dichotomy of sadistic behavior carried out by “monsters” like Dr. Josef Mengele, and also barbarism carried out by seemingly normal individuals.

Professor Zimbardo’s research showed an environment with normal people working in inhuman conditions, “12-hr night shifts, 7 days a week, 40 days with no break; extreme exhaustion, high stress level, chaotic conditions, filth, noise, unsanitary; in charge of 1000 prisoners, 12 army reserve guards, 60 Iraqi police…” and under the constant fear of attacks, where soldiers and prisoners were killed and wounded, and finally broken.

The Fay Report, by Major General George Fay in August of 2004, lends credibility to Professor Zimbardo’s claims that the commanders and leaders should bear far more blame than those on the ground who perpetrated the horrific acts.  For a period of seven months, “Military Intelligence personnel allegedly requested, encouraged, condoned or solicited Military Police personnel [the Army Reserve guards] to abuse detainees, and/or participated in detainee abuse, and/or violated established interrogation procedures and applicable laws…” the General reported.

“Abuses would not have occurred had [military] doctrine been followed and mission training conducted,” he continued.

“The environment created at Abu Ghraib contributed to the occurrence of such abuse and the fact that it remained undiscovered by higher authorities for a long period of time,” he concluded.

Nevertheless, the military court found that individuals were “personally responsible for the abuses,” and therefore they were dishonorably discharged and imprisoned for a number of years.

Professor Zimbardo told us this was “the triumph of a mindless dispositional view,” where the individual gets blamed without regard to situational determinants, and the corrupt system and chain of command – both the military and the Bush administration – were absolved.

It is I think this point that the Senate Report on terrorism attempts to get at. As I think back on my experience with Professor Zimbardo and Abu Ghraib, I think the experience fundamentally changed my mindset. The seeds for what would happen later in 2005 and early 2006 were laid by my growing distrust of government and the due process of law.

The fact that, ten years later, we have failed to reconcile our actions with our principles further undermines the belief in the ability for institutions and due process of law to overcome what others might call “the banality of evil.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Share:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

76 thoughts on “My View: Of Course We Tortured, Abu Ghraib and US Torture Policy”

  1. Barack Palin

    I see there are no comments.  Could that be because we as a country already aired this 10 years ago and as a nation we’ve grown tired of Democrats bringing out their biased reports where no Republicans took part and nobody was interviewed just to try and score political points?

    1. Don Shor

      Interesting, but not surprising, that in your comment you don’t tell us how you feel about the issue of torture, but instead just try to score some cheap political shots.
      No, we didn’t “air this 10 years ago.” Not to this degree. You were not aware of the magnitude of these policies and practices.
      The fact that Republican leaders chose not to participate is a moral failing on their part. This is not a partisan issue. It was a failure at all levels of government.
      Nobody needed to be interviewed to make the report effective, and prosecution of the responsible individuals would have been jeopardized.
      I’m not surprised that no torture apologists have commented yet. Accepting these practices requires a level of moral relativism that most of them deny they believe. Yet that’s the only way you can accept this. The only value you hold, if you believe these actions were justified, is that the end justifies the means.

    2. David Greenwald Post author

      You might have noticed that I didn’t really write this about the senate report but rather about my insights into Zimbardo and the nature of evil

  2. Tia Will

    BP

    That may be the case. Or it may be the case that because we are reluctant to fully air these issues, and still use polite obfuscation rather than calling torture what it is, we continue to see it swept under the rug and institutionalized. I personally do not care if the party in power at the time was Republican or Democratic, if it is morally wrong to torture, then it is morally wrong regardless of the individual performing the acts or their party affiliation. Ask yourself if you would not be calling for a full investigation if the Democrats had been the party in power at the time. It is precisely this, “it’s only justifiable if its our side”, mentality that allows for the perpetuation of these

    Torture and the brutal mentality that allows it to continue in our world needs to be fully exposed for what it is, and met with persistent opposition until we have eliminated it.

    tribeUSA wrote very eloquently about the choice to describe Daniel Marsh as “evil” and the implication of that characterization. It is my belief that when we judge the individual, or the group, rather than their specific actions, we dehumanize ,which allows us to justify our own use of behaviors that we would label as “evil” if done by others. Thus we have the same individuals who decry the torture of John McCain as “evil” and yet defend it as necessary and justifiable when done by our own operatives.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      I would never compare Daniel Marsh, a very troubled young man from a very unstable home, under the influence of mild-altering drugs, some prescribed, some not (marijuana), who murdered two individuals; to murderous, mature, fully developed, street-wise thugs who have killed thousands of innocents, and who would love and plan to kill tens of thousands of additional innocents.

      Washington Post: Charles Krauthammer: A travesty of a report

      “…We were so blindsided that we established a 9/11 commission to find out why. And we knew next to nothing about the enemy: its methods, structure, intentions, plans. There was nothing morally deranged about deciding as a nation to do everything necessary to find out what we needed to prevent a repetition, or worse. As Feinstein said at the time, “We have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves….”

      Nancy Pelosi was notified of what was happening, as was Jay Rockefeller.

      “…To make that case, to produce a prosecutorial brief so entirely and relentlessly one-sided, the committee report (written solely by Democrats) excluded any testimony from the people involved and variously accused. None. No interviews, no hearings, no statements….”

      “…Answer: So that committee Democrats could make their indictment without contradiction. So they could declare, for example, the whole program to be a failure that yielded no important information — a conclusion denied by practically every major figure involved, including Democrat and former CIA director Leon Panetta; Obama’s current CIA director, John Brennan; and three other CIA directors (including a Clinton appointee).”

      “So what was the Bush administration to do? Amid the smoking ruins of Ground Zero, conduct a controlled experiment in gentle interrogation and wait to see if we’d be hit again?”

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-the-torture-report-is-a-travesty/2014/12/11/53fedf80-8168-11e4-81fd-8c4814dfa9d7_story.html

       

      1. Don Shor

        I am aware of what Charles Krauthammer thinks about your government paying private contractors millions of dollars and enacting policies that violated international treaties and international law, lying to Congress, and withholding information from Congress. I am curious what you think about it. I can copy and paste stuff, too.

        1. Don Shor

          What I am hearing from you and all the other torture apologists is that the end justifies the means. Former Vice President Cheney has clearly articulated this, repeatedly, during recent interviews. What a copy and paste? Here’s a good analysis of Cheney’s position by columnist Conor Friedersdorf:

          Once 9/11 happened, Dick Cheney ceased to believe that the CIA should be subject to the U.S. Constitution, statutes passed by Congress, international treaties, or moral prohibitions against torture. Those standards would be cast aside. In their place, moral relativism would reign. Any action undertaken by the United States would be subject to this test: Is it morally equivalent to what al-Qaeda did on 9/11? Is it as bad as murdering roughly 3,000 innocent people? If not, then no one should criticize it, let alone investigate, charge and prosecute the CIA. Did a prisoner freeze to death? Were others anally raped? Well, what if they were?

          If it cannot be compared with 9/11, if it is not morally equivalent, then it should not be verboten.

          That is the moral standard Cheney is unabashedly invoking on national television. He doesn’t want the United States to honor norms against torture. He doesn’t want us to abide by the Ten Commandments, or to live up to the values in the Declaration of Independence, or to be restrained by the text of the Constitution. Instead, Cheney would have us take al-Qaeda as our moral and legal measuring stick. Did America torture dozens of innocents? So what. 9/11 was worse.

          Evidently you share those views.
          It means that the United States stands for nothing. We have no higher values that we can put forth to the world as we fight terrorists. We are not exceptional. We do not have the higher moral ground. Our only guiding value is a vague and very broad definition of national security. We will do anything on behalf of that value.
          Our former president lied and failed to do his job of executive oversight. Our former vice president lied repeatedly and continues to do so. The heads of the CIA lied. The CIA acted as a rogue agency, outside of its constitutional authority. The Congress failed to provide oversight and failed to act on evidence of atrocities. Our checks and balances failed at every level.
          There has been no accountability for these CIA torture practices. The only thing stopping the practice is an executive order by the current president. Nothing would stop the CIA from resuming these practices under a future president. Nothing binds us to the treaties we have signed and violated.
          If you support this, you don’t support the principles America was founded on. You have nothing except fear guiding your behavior. So please don’t ever make a false claim of patriotism again on behalf of any political or policy position. It’s bogus. You have nothing.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          It sounds like Leon Panetta (D), Nancy Pelosi (D), Rockefeller (D), and Dianne Feinstein went along with it. And is the reason DiFi is so mad at the CIA because they were (are) investigating her activities, and those of her husband, with China?

          So Benghazi was “old news” before it even broke, but the Dems will twist themselves in knots for something they signed on to over 10 years ago?

          Better still,  they know the CIA can’t respond, they know classified documents won’t be released.

  3. Anon

    Okay, I’ll bite.  What is “torture”?  Keeping detainees locked up indefinitely, because some let go had to be faced again on the battlefield?  Do we count playing “Barney” songs 24/7 in the prison cells until the prisoners break “torture”?  Should waterboarding ever be permitted?  I listened to an ex-special forces guy one time make an interesting statement.  The gist of it was, if one cannot get information out of a prisoner through the use of waterboarding in the first 24 to 48 hours, then such techniques become sadistic.  Now this is coming from someone on the inside of this sort of thing.  I know terrorists have no conscience, I know sometimes in war (and we are waging a war on terrorism) awful things must be done to protect freedom (such as killing terrorists).  But I do wonder if fairly benign forms of “torture”, such as playing annoying music for hours on end, aren’t just as effective as the more graphic forms of torture.  But I think you have to define “torture” first.  Some would call solitary confinement “torture”, and I think it can be if carried out too long.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Do we need to define torture to know that what happened at Abu Ghraib was wrong? I think sometimes we define our terms to avoid responsibility

    2. Tia Will

      I know terrorists have no conscience, I know sometimes in war (and we are waging a war on terrorism) awful things must be done to protect freedom (such as killing terrorists).”

       

      So it would seem to be your position that if “they” are doing it, it is because they have no conscience while if it is us doing the exact same acts, it is because “awful things must be done”. Do you honestly believe that they do not believe exactly the same about us ?

      I would point out, as has been done many times in the past, that our “terrorists” are considered “freedom fighters” by those on their side, and vice versa. It is my opinion that deliberate killing of those in any other circumstance than direct immediate defense is an indefensible action. I do not believe that invading other countries and then pretending that it was necessary is justifiable for any armed force, be they an established army of a state or be they armed groups not associated with any state. It is the actions that define the morality, not who happens to be doing the killing.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I think both parties are culpable here, which is why I didn’t single out either.  To me this isn’t a partisan issue, it was a collective failure.

    2. Robb Davis

      BP: Drone use may not be torture but may constitute war crimes.  Hearings should be held.  At least one US citizen was murdered via a drone strike; a form of extrajudicial execution that is clearly unconstitutional.  It is time to recognize the danger of the unitary presidency that has evolved (see Andrew Bacevich) and begin to dismantle it.  Both parties rail against it when they are not in power but covet it when in power.

      So, I am with you: let’s prosecute those who approved or used torture and let’s begin an open hearing process on the use and legality of using drones against civilians.

  4. Miwok

    Mr. Greenwald, thank you for an academic view of why people fall into the roles in these situations.

    I wonder where DiFi was in those years, because only now they are protesting torture? Could they have succumbed to the Professor’s Stanford Experiment as well? I guess this is a response to BP for jumping right into Politics, when I thought the article was pretty free of that – to start with.

    Mr Davis is correct, the drones are bad for public relations. Prez Obama is famous in Latin/South America for saying “welcome to the party” but in Pakistan he is famous for drones. When law enforcement uses them, for what ever reason, will the MRAP be a forgotten conversation? As soon as they have something other than cameras on them, it should.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I think the bigger problem is that politicians have vacillated between outrage and acquiescence – both of which are /were politically based. That’s different than the situational issues that Zimbardo talks about.

  5. tribeUSA

    Not to be morbid, but what specifically were the ‘tortures’ used? Was waterboarding the worst treatment? Or were there worse treatments; presumably not mutilation, hot irons, or electric shocks or sexual humiliation/torture (all these treatments cross the line for me and should never be permitted).

    I guess I distinguish between abuse and torture; seems to me waterboarding straddles the line between abuse and torture; I remember hearing something about one prisoner being waterboarded around 100 times; I might agree that this constitutes torture. I also remember hearing something on the radio about rectal feeding; was this for hunger strikers? Certainly an extreme humiliation, depending on how it is done; won’t promote a love for Americans in the recipient.

    Things like bland or poor tasting food, uncomfortable furniture, dirty cells, rude and intimidating and yelling guards, obnoxious music might be considered abuse but not torture (although blasting Metallica at 90 db day&night might be cross the line into torture).

  6. tribeUSA

    Don–thanks for the link. I would classify what was done to the prisoners as mild to moderate physical abuse (but not torture; except perhaps in cases of multiple extreme waterboardings); however the mental/psychological hardship was moderate to severe (mainly due to the long durations); obviously the treatment was a program designed to ‘break’ them mentally (but not physically). Many of the treatments described are similar to treatments during fraternity initiations (‘hell week’); though admittedly these fraternity initiations lasted only 5 days or so; guess many of the prisoners went thru it for a lot longer. I imagine some of the prisoners had mental breakdowns.

    1. Tia Will

      tribeUSA

      I would classify what was done to the prisoners as mild to moderate physical abuse”

      Is that how you would classify what was done to the individual who died of hypothermia.

      I am wondering how any of us would classify these same acts if done to us or one of our children.

      1. Barack Palin

        Beats the Hell out of getting your head chopped off.  How many lives were saved because of enhanced interrogation.  I know, I know the biased report said none, but others are saying many lives were saved.

        1. Tia Will

          BP

          I know, I know the biased report said none, but others are saying many lives were saved.”

          One small problem. The same people maintaining this are those who sold the American people on the invasion of Iraq by instilling fear of weapons of mass destruction, and false implications of involvement of Iraq in the 9/11 attacks. Or perhaps you believe that these prevarications are too far in the past to be considered now. Do you really believe that Cheney et al are “unbiased” ?

           

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        I would say it is mild compared to the thousands killed by Obama’s drone strikes, including probably hundreds of innocents. But these are the things that happen in war, no one is being killed in Latvia or Chile.

    2. Robert Canning

      Dear tribeUSA –

      I’m sort of appalled that you would classify the hours and hours of sleep deprivation, loud noxious sounds, bodies slammed against the wall, constant interrogation, etc. as “mild to moderate” abuse. And then to compare it to fraternity initiations (which, periodically have resulted in death – see Florida A&M hazing death news two years ago). And the detainees did not get to go back to their dorm rooms and class the next day.

      I might suggest you check out the videos of California State prison staff extracting inmates from their cells (for instance see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxp8jUWqVP4) or other prison extraction videos in this country.

      The worst part of this ongoing cluster is that those who have little experience with situations in which others are abused or treated poorly, seek to simply justify the brutality as a means to an end. And gee, I guess it’s OK if these prisoners had “mental breakdowns.” Have you ever worked in a psychiatric facility or a prison?

      Pardon my sarcasm and outrage, but the naivete just amazes me.

      1. tribeUSA

        Notice at no point have I condoned such actions; I’m merely considering a more careful way to classify them. Currently, worse things go on in state penitentaries (inmate rapes and beatings and terrorism by other inmates) on a daily basis and have for years, and yet there does not seem to be a sense of outrage about this, and we passively permit these situations to continue (and yes, I would support strong measures to stop such abuse at our state prisons).

        Also, what was the stated rationale for this prisoner abuse–was it to ‘soften’ the inmates for interrogation? Not that such rationales justify the abuse; but I just wonder for what stated reasons the authorities condoned or permitted this behavior? An yes, I think the authorities who authorized or permitted this abuse should be investigated for possible prosecution for war crimes.

        1. Robert Canning

          Since you suggest that you were only “classifying” the behavior and not judging it, what criteria did you use to make your classification?

          I would say from working in the prison system for some time that most of what happened in the CIA detention centers is worse than what happens in California prisons. I’m not sure on what evidence you base your assertion that the events in California prisons are “worse” than what was done to terrorist detainees. And does this justify our use of these techniques?

    3. Don Shor

      It was torture, plain and simple.
      It violated treaties to which we are signatories.
      It violated international law.
      President Bush and Vice President Cheney lied about this. Cheney continues to lie about it.
      Evidently the end justifies the means, even if we didn’t achieve the ends and the means were illegal.
      We aren’t the “greatest country on God’s green earth.” We are a rogue nation that declares illegal wars and tortures people to death.
      Your government paid private contractors to torture people to death in your name.
      I’m not real proud to be part of this “tribe.”

      1. Frankly

        What tribe would you be proud to be part of Don?  Seems like you are pretty disillusioned with your country.

        And I cannot tell if you are truly ignorant of both our history of war, and our current threats, or have dismissed them as not relevant.  But note that bad things have happened before and will happen again in war time.   And also note that terrorism and things like homicide by suicide are also illegal war-time acts.

        Liberals would like every conflict to be tried in court as if the rest of world gave a shit about our laws or any laws for that matter.

        The problem you and others that think like this have is that you believe you are on the higher moral ground.  But Frankly (because I am) you don’t know.  And with history as our guide it is clear that there is great risk that you are NOT on the high moral ground and your demands are actually hazardous to our national security.

        Sometimes the highest moral ground is simply to defeat evil so it does not win.

         

         

        1. Don Shor

          What tribe would you be proud to be part of Don? Seems like you are pretty disillusioned with your country.

          Yes. Very. I am not presently proud that my country was doing these things.

          And I cannot tell if you are truly ignorant of both our history of war, and our current threats, or have dismissed them as not relevant. But note that bad things have happened before and will happen again in war time. And also note that terrorism and things like homicide by suicide are also illegal war-time acts. .

          I do not think the actions of the CIA were appropriate or proportional to the threats, nor were they effective, nor were they legal.

          Liberals would like every conflict to be tried in court as if the rest of world gave a shit about our laws or any laws for that matter. .

          It’s possible some liberals would like that. There are 81 signatories and 156 parties to the UN Convention Against Torture. If we are going to go to the UN to call for sanctions against rogue countries, we can’t be a rogue country. We have to have a basis for calling for collective actions by international agencies, and in order to take that position we have to uphold those positions ourselves. Much of the rest of the world does give a shit about this stuff. Once upon a time, we did too. Reagan signed this treaty. Bush broke it.

          The problem you and others that think like this have is that you believe you are on the higher moral ground. But Frankly (because I am) you don’t know. And with history as our guide it is clear that there is great risk that you are NOT on the high moral ground and your demands are actually hazardous to our national security. .

          If you believe the end justifies the means, you have no moral ground. And enacting torture practices is arguably hazardous to our national security and the safety of our people overseas.

          Sometimes the highest moral ground is simply to defeat evil so it does not win. .

          Yeah. The end justifies the means. That’s all you’ve got.

  7. TrueBlueDevil

    Why isn’t there any coverage here of the CNN report this weekend covering ISIS rules for capturing and raping non-believing slaves, women and children.

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/12/world/meast/isis-justification-female-slaves/

    When has Obama given a speech about this?

    Where is the United Nations?

    Where is Dianne Feinstein, who tried to slam the CIA, who were trying to protect us from future terrorist attacks?

    Their color brochure, question and answer, even covers when it is appropriate to rape the child slave, and when a true believer must wait.

    P.S. Our own service personnel who go into dangerous situations are water boarded so that they are prepared for what may happen to them.

  8. Frankly

    We need new war treaties and new domestic definitions of legal and illegal wartime protocol.  The reason we need these things is that we have never faced this type of enemy before and hence the old standards no longer apply.

    The first step would be to define mass killings by suicide as a use of a weapon of mass destruction, and then authorize the use of like force if used against Americans.

    Who would we use it against?  The country that we found to have sponsored the terrorism group responsible.

    And how would we get the information we need to know where to deliver our legal war-time response?  Enhanced interrogation techniques.

    But getting back to this report released by the Democrats.  Make no mistake.  It was 100% political.  The Democrats are desperate in their fear of losing more in the next election.  They know Republicans are friends of law enforcement, the military and national defense.  So the Democrats are pulling out all the stops to attack those three knowing their media pals will jump to sensationalize the “outrage” and help further damage the GOP brand in the minds of the unthinking, unknowing voting minions.  These are the same type of voting minions that Neville Chamberlain relied on to pursue his misguided “moral” policy on making friends with the enemy to “keep his people safe”.   It is more of the weak mother approach… and it will eventually prove fatal to us all.

    There are solutions to end the war on terrorism.  But the terrorists have a friend in western liberals who prevent the pursuit of solutions.

    1. Don Shor

      We need new war treaties and new domestic definitions of legal and illegal wartime protocol. The reason we need these things is that we have never faced this type of enemy before and hence the old standards no longer apply.

      So you believe that we just abrogate all our signed treaties and flout international law? And the CIA has carte blanche to do as it pleases?
      We have faced vicious enemies before. There is nothing new here.

      The first step would be to define mass killings by suicide as a use of a weapon of mass destruction, and then authorize the use of like force if used against Americans.
      Who would we use it against? The country that we found to have sponsored the terrorism group responsible. .

      I see. We went to war against Afghanistan for that reason. We went to war against Iraq for some other reason. Do you believe annihilation of another country is an effective method of counter-terrorism?

      And how would we get the information we need to know where to deliver our legal war-time response? Enhanced interrogation techniques. .

      Torture. Frigging call it what it is. Torture. Ok? And it doesn’t work, didn’t work, and won’t work. And it’s un-American.

      Make no mistake. It was 100% political.

      No. This is Dianne Feinstein’s finest moment. And it was seconded emphatically by John McCain.

      The Democrats are desperate in their fear of losing more in the next election.

      No they aren’t.
      Neville Chamberlain…blah blah blah…liberals are friends of terrorists….blah blah blah. Just rhetorical excess in furtherance of torture. The end justifies the means. That’s all you’ve got.

      1. Barack Palin

        Torture. Frigging call it what it is. Torture. Ok? And it doesn’t work, didn’t work, and won’t work. And it’s un-American.

        You don’t know that it didn’t work, and please don’t cite some biased lefty report.

        1. Don Shor

          Ok, I’ll quote the CIA director:

          “(CIA Director)Brennan did not deliver a full-throated defense of the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques, but rather said it was unclear whether or not their use led to crucial information in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.
          ‘Let me be clear: We have not concluded that it was the EITs within that program that allowed us to obtain useful information from the detainees subjected to them,’ he said.
          He did, however, call some of those techniques ‘abhorrent.’
          Brennan also revealed his personal belief that ‘the use of coercive methods has a strong prospect for resulting in false information because if somebody’s been subjected to coercive techniques, they may say something to have those techniques stopped.’”

          Translation: we don’t know if it worked, the practices were ‘abhorrent’, and he doesn’t think those practices are effective.
          But hey, the end justifies the means.

        2. Frankly

          I love all these Einsteins in Hindsight.  These smart people with the benefit of looking backward.  I am guessing that it is in their personalities to be risk averse.  Possibly incapacitated with indecision at times fearing that they will make a mistake.  Something from their childhood?  Or maybe it is just a personality disorder.

          To raise a voice over the enhanced interrogation techniques working or not working is a waste of effort unless you just want to identify yourself as prone to partisan tantrums.

          First, you don’t know if they were effective.  You don’t know what gains the US made in the war on terrorism as a result of the interrogation of terrorists being held.  There is reasonable arguments being made on both sides.

          But let’s say for the sake of argument that absolutely zero useful information was extracted from the murdering thugs in detention.  That would not be something you know would happen before and during the interrogation.   Unlike the knowing vision of thousands of people burning to death and jumping to their death and being crushed to jelly in the World Trade Center terrorist attack, you can never know the future.  You can only work to gather as much intel as possible to minimize risks for additional harm and to help you defeat the evil infesting the globe.

          When you read the report, it is clear that it uses inflammatory visualization language to describe what are fairly mild psychological methods for breaking down the resistance.   Frankly (because I am) some of those methods are the same the US military uses to break in new recruits.  From a liberal Democrat perspective, I guess the training that our US Rangers and Seals go through must be torture.

          The rest of the report is only a complaint about the CIA not using enough “qualified” people.  That is the standard fair from the Democrats that tend to value education credentials over practical success.  But it isn’t anything to flame about.

           

           

          1. Don Shor

            Possibly incapacitated with indecision at times fearing that they will make a mistake. Something from their childhood? Or maybe it is just a personality disorder.

            You should stop practicing psychology without a license.

            To raise a voice over the enhanced interrogation techniques

              torture

            working or not working is a waste of effort

            The end justifies the means, no matter what the means, and regardless of whether they achieved the ends. The hole gets deeper and deeper.

            But let’s say for the sake of argument that absolutely zero useful information was extracted from the murdering thugs in detention.

            Or, let’s say that a whole bunch of them were innocent and had nothing to do with 9-11 or any other terrorist plots. Does that figure into your calculus as well?

            When you read the report, it is clear that it uses inflammatory visualization language

            Yes. It describes the practices. That is clearly inflammatory.

            Frankly (because I am) some of those methods are the same the US military uses to break in new recruits.

            And “some” are methods that violate international law and treaties to which we are signatories.

        3. Barack Palin

          The rest of the report is only a complaint about the CIA not using enough “qualified” people.  That is the standard fair from the Democrats that tend to value education credentials over practical success. 

          What, they didn’t have enough Harvard scholars to fill the positions?

        4. Frankly

          Don – when you demonstrate anything close to a similar level of outrage and demand for Congress to investigate the IRS and release a report on its practices torturing conservatives, I will consider you someone that can objectively demonstrate outrage about the practices of government.

          One clarifying point to consider though.   For the IRS debacle, it was only for your party to gain politically.  For the CIA debacle, they were trying to keep Americans safe.  But then as you say, the means justifies the ends you desire.

          And “some” are methods that violate international law and treaties to which we are signatories.

          And here is why we don’t want any liberal with the weak mother tendencies having any influence at all in the affairs of the military.   It think it is frankly (because I am) troubling having offspring in the arm services that you would make this type of statement.  Do you want a weaker US?  Seems like it.  Do you want the US to suffer more defeats?  Seems like it.

          So the US military demands recruits to do things that you are outraged about and calling torture. I would call them rough spa treatments.

          1. Don Shor

            Don – when you demonstrate anything close to a similar level of outrage and demand for Congress to investigate the IRS and release a report on its practices torturing conservatives, I will consider you someone that can objectively demonstrate outrage about the practices of government.

            Frankly — when you acknowledge that there is not the slightest similarity between torture and tax audits, I will give you some credence. You’re reaching new lows of absurdity.

            Do you want a weaker US? Seems like it. Do you want the US to suffer more defeats? Seems like it.

            I want the US to uphold the values our kids — yours and mine, apparently — are/were serving for.

            So the US military demands recruits to do things that you are outraged about and calling torture. I would call them rough spa treatments.

            NO, Frankly. We tortured people. To death, in at least one case. Quit denying reality.

        5. South of Davis

          I could post dozens of these (for every member of the Senate BOTH GOP and Dem.):

          Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband will make millions from sale of 60 USPS buildings:

          http://www.dcclothesline.com/2013/06/19/cronyism-sen-dianne-feinsteins-husband-will-make-millions-from-sale-of-60-usps-buildings/

          Sen. Diane Feinstein’s husband wins CA rail contract:

          http://calwatchdog.com/2013/04/26/se-diane-feinsteins-husband-wins-ca-rail-contract/#sthash.e24f7Tko.dpuf

          In addition to Perini, Tutor and Blum conduct a great deal of business through another company called Tutor-Saliba. Among that company’s largest projects is the Los Angeles subway system.

          http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1809771/posts

          While the right focuses on school prayer and the left focuses on gay marriage the people they send to Washington focus on making their friends, family and donors rich…

        6. Frankly

          And by the way… my son was disappointed that army boot camp wasn’t more challenging.  Apparently allowing females into the service has resulted in a significant reduction in the physical and psychological tests that new recruits used to have to complete.

          Soldiers crave the challenges to endure much of the same treatment you claim is torture.

          Hell Week starts on day 15.

          The would-be SEALs are subjected to a soul-crushing series of workouts. They must swim dozens of miles in freezing, rough surf, then run and roll in the sand and mud – all in full gear.

          Over the entire five days, they are given only four hours of sleep.

          “You run, you paddle boats, carry boats – it never stops,” Smith said. “You’re wet, sandy and tired – and you don’t sleep.”

          This is when the majority of the trainees quit, and even the act of quitting is painful. They must ring a brass bell to signal they don’t have what it takes to be a SEAL.

          Ex-SEAL Marcus Luttrell provided a terrifying account of Hell Week in his book “Lone Survivor.”

          “Guys collapsed onto the sand, others just stood there … too many of them wondering how they could possibly go on,” Luttrell wrote.

          “Including me. Knees were buckling. Joints throbbing. I don’t think anyone could stand up without hurting.”

          Trainees who survive Hell Week go on to receive training in diving and land warfare, learning to become snipers capable of jumping from planes and navigating the depths of the ocean.

          1. Don Shor

            Apparently allowing females into the service has resulted in a significant reduction in the physical and psychological tests that new recruits used to have to complete.

            Not in the USMC.

        7. TrueBlueDevil

          I have read some articles on occasion that are hard to reconcile, much of this conducted by liberal writers!

          I know that Ms. Feinstein and her husband, who may now be a billionaire, invested money in a company – URS and Perini – that got very little work from the government, and then work flowed in by the billions.

          I know that they invested $1 million in a green energy company, and that company soon got a $24 million grant from the government.

          Here is just one case, with a little more detail: “On April 21, 2009, the Washington Times broke an exclusive story that Feinstein proposed legislation to direct $25 billion in taxpayer money to the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation

          “The alleged Blum [her husband] connection was that the FDIC had just awarded Blum’s real estate firm a profitable contract to resell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.

          “According to the Washington Times, “Mrs. Feinstein’s intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn’t a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments–not direct federal dollars.”

          There are stories like this that seem to happen over and over again. Maybe they are just very clever business people. But the people I know in business often fail, struggle to get contracts, and struggle with a variety of issues. I think even a super liberal Bay Area paper, the Guardian, covered some of their business dealings.

          DIANNE FEINSTEIN STILL DOGGED BY ALLEGATIONS OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
          http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/06/06/Dianne-Feinstein-Still-Dogged-by-Allegations-of-Conflicts-of-Interest

        8. South of Davis

          Here is a link for Don (from a lefty source):

          Feinstein’s husband is Richard Blum the major share-holder of the construction company Perini.  His corporation received contracts for work in Iraq that totaled more than $3 billion dollars.  Some wonder how Diane Feinstein could have remained objective when she voted as a member of the powerful Senate Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee whether or not to fund her husband’s contracts,’ (or, for that matter, the continuation of the war as a member of the Senate) when her family was to be rewarded so extensively by the continuation of the war and the contracts that followed. 

          http://www.projectcensored.org/economic-power-corruption-american-political-system/

          1. Don Shor

            Women did not have to do pullups before in the USMC. The proposal was to have them start meeting that requirement. They were tightening the standards. But most women cannot do pullups; instead they did a flexed arm hang. The physical requirements to be a Marine are rigorous, and they tend to laugh at the other branches of the military in that regard (among others).

        9. TrueBlueDevil

          So why have a Marine that can’t do a pull up? Political correctness and gender politics.

          But when she meets the enemy hand to hand, odds will be vastly stacked against our Marine with limited upper body strength. She may also endanger her colleagues, not having met the regular requirements, but meeting the needs of social engineers.

          1. Don Shor

            Because pull-ups aren’t necessary for much of what they do. I doubt my daughter did many pullups while she was in Anbar.
            I should note that many female Marines are being motivated to work very hard to pass these new strength tests, and the USMC is working hard to help them get there. They don’t want to lose the valuable female Marines because of this.

          2. Don Shor

            The answer is that it has nothing to do with political correctness or gender politics. The women who join the Marines are motivated and tough, or they wouldn’t have chosen to join the toughest branch of the military. They want to do those combat roles. The military has to make the decision as to whether their current standards are still relevant with the types of military operations we engage in now. http://www.npr.org/2014/11/24/365723967/combat-training-can-female-marines-get-the-job-done

        10. TrueBlueDevil

          And a perfect way to test your theory is to have an all male Marine group go against an all female group.

          This is life and death, this is not child’s play. In Israel women can serve in 95% of the military positions, just not hand to hand combat and one other. Why? I heard there are two reasons.

          1. They don’t have the upper body strength, which is what is tested with pull ups. War is still war. 2. When a woman is being beaten or brutalized in a trench, and the mission is to take a hill, a position, a tunnel, the male’s natural instincts to protect the woman kick in, and they abandon the mission to save their fellow female soldier. This jeopardizes the mission.

          But heck, if you want it your way, let’s require all women to register for the draft. Equal is equal.

          Do you recall when we had a recent intruder into the White House, who jumped the fence, made the long run, got through the door, and overpowered a Secret Service agent inside the White House? Guy on the radio says everyone is keeping it quite, but the agent was a woman. President Obama could have been killed because a Secret Service agent was distracted by who knows what (iPhone?), and was then overpowered, even though all heck was breaking lose. Just as a diminutive female prison guard/ grandmother was overpowered by an inmate in Atlanta (that looked like an NFL linebacker) and killed years ago. She should never been in that position. Ridiculous.

          1. Don Shor

            … I heard … Guy on the radio says …

            Perfect. Always a good starting point.

            And a perfect way to test your theory is to have an all male Marine group go against an all female group.

            I’m sorry, what exactly would that prove?

            They don’t have the upper body strength,

            Some do, some don’t.

            the male’s natural instincts to protect the woman kick in

            Marines work in team units. They protect each other. Regardless of gender.

            and they abandon the mission to save their fellow female soldier.

            Nonsense. They’re more professional than you seem to think.

            let’s require all women to register for the draft. Equal is equal.

            If anybody has to register for the draft, everybody should.

            I swear, sometimes in these conversations I feel like I’m back in the 1970’s.

  9. TrueBlueDevil

    What would have happened if we failed?

    What if we played Monopoly with the prisoners, gave them their medical checkups, exercise yard, place of worship, communal rooms, and let them be as they wish. What would have happened if we were slammed again, or London, where there was an attack to blow up the Thames and flood the Tube.

    George Bush would have been derided as a poor leader, we would suffer greatly, and the Left would still moan.

    I really wish President Bill Clinton would have taken out Bin Laden when he had the chance. We had him, he was in our sights, but we were worried about killing a few innocents. We know the details. He didn’t. Clinton and the US were hit 3, 4, 5 times, we showed weakness, and they came after us. And now Obama has probably killed hundreds of innocents by drone, but we knash teeth over the harsh interrogations.

    I’m not pleased with them, either, but I’m not going to forget all of the items this silly report glossed over.

  10. Frankly

    We have faced vicious enemies before. There is nothing new here.

    True, and western nations have used harsh interrogation techniques before.  Look up the London Cages.

    There are two differences though:

    One – we had more patriots in government unwilling to damage the country and put military personnel at risk for reprisal killing than we do today.  Much of what we might know about the interrogation techniques used in previous wars, both abroad and domestically, will never be known because the people that do know love their country more than they love attention and power.

    Two – the old interrogation techniques don’t work with this brand of evil.  These are people that practice a culture of death.  Unlike WWII where there was at least some common will to live and associate, these are corrupted murdering psychopaths that many believe own less than a full human life of value.

  11. Barack Palin

    New Pew Poll:

    Roughly 56 percent of respondents believe torture provided intelligence that prevented terror attacks, while 28 percent did not and 16 percent were undecided.

    More than half of all Americans believe that the CIA was “justified” in its use of torture and brutal interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, according to a new poll. The report by the Pew Research Center found only 29 percent believe the tactics were “not justified” and 20 percent are undecided.

     
    It looks like America isn’t falling for the Democrat’s political ploy.

  12. TrueBlueDevil

    A 6-year report, OK. Keep it private.

    But why make it public? To score political points? To try to embarrass America and the GOP?

    I dunno, I think people being burned alive is torture, or jumping out of the 110th floor is pretty bad … far worse than an anal douche or listening to Eminem for 48 hours.

    This may simply motivate another wave of 14th century terrorists with 21st century cell phones.

    1. Don Shor

      But why make it public?

      Because we live in an open society. And significant parts remain withheld.
      I think you are misrepresenting Senator Feinstein. She is not one of the highly partisan Senators. She is not trying to “embarrass America.”
      As to the rest of your comments, you’ve just fallen back into the Cheney talking points. 9-11 justifies everything. The end justifies the means. Nothing is out of bounds. Treaties and international law don’t matter. Because 9-11.

      1. Frankly

        She is part of a party in panic worried about the next election.  The Democrats have nothing.  What do they have for a platform?  They have shot their wad and failed and so they can only double down on more of the divisive anti-Americansim.  They can count on folks like yourself easily embarrassed by concerns over how the rest of the world sees us to gin up the issues to epic proportions.    It isn’t working.  It won’t work.  It will have the opposite effect.  Democrats will be even more despised for continually damaging their own country for attempts to hold on to power.

  13. South of Davis

    Don wrote:

    > I think you are misrepresenting Senator Feinstein. She is not one of

    > the highly partisan Senators. She is not trying to “embarrass America.”

    Feinstein may not be “partisan” in that she votes with the Dems to borrow money we don’t have to blow money on social programs that do nothing positive (other than making some people including her husband rich) AND votes with the GOP to borrow money we don’t have to blow money on wars that do nothing positive (other than making some people including her husband rich).

    Feinstein has known about this stuff (to quote Obama, that we “tortured some folks”) for years and it is only now that she knows the GOP is going to kick her out of her Senate leadership role that she spills the beans since she is bitter that her husband is not yet a billionaire (and they “only” have half a dozen multi-million dollar homes (that I know of) in Georgetown, San Francisco, Tahoe Lakeshore, Seadrift,  Aspen and Kuai…

    Just like Feinstein dropped this on the GOP on her way out the door I’m betting that Obama (who promised he would close it as soon as he was elected) will try to close Gitmo to make the GOP deal with the “folks” there…

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Didn’t DiFi set her daughter up with a sweet gig?

      I had a friend who said DiFi was a good mayor of a difficult city, but she cost the gay community hundreds or thousands of lives when she refused to shut down the bath houses during the AIDS crisis. Public health officials knew the bath houses (which had open, wonton free sex) were a vortex for AIDS, but didn’t know all the details. She bent to the desires of the gay community and kept them open. A difficult time, but very sad, and she didn’t take a tough stance.

      1. Don Shor

        All of these attacks on Senator Feinstein by you and others just demonstrate that you really have no cogent argument against the committee report and conclusions.
        The end justifies the means.
        Because 9-11.
        And now you feel compelled to tear down the committee chair to make your partisan points.

          1. Don Shor

            She’s not on her way out the door. She’ll still be on the Senate Intelligence Committee, she’s in office until 2018 and I’m sure she expects to resume the chair in 2016.

  14. South of Davis

    Don wrote:

    > And now you feel compelled to tear down the

    > committee chair to make your partisan points

    I’m an anti-war, anti-torture, guy that wants Gitmo closed who voted for Obama so I’m not a right winger “tearing down” Feinstein to make “partisan points” since I’m pretty sure she is going to replaced with a GOP chair who funds even more war and makes his friends, family and donors even more money (probably giving all his kids $10 million houses that are bigger than Al Gore’s house)…

    TBD wrote:

    >Didn’t DiFi set her daughter up with a sweet gig?

    DiFi got her daughter Katherine a job as a judge, but the word on the street is that the reason she stepped down a couple years ago to get ready for a “real sweet gig” as a US Senator since it should be an easy win after her mom retires (or dies of old age) since people in CA are so used to voting for “Feinstein for Senate”…

    P.S. DiFi and Dick also gave Katherine a “sweet” $9.5 million house in 2006 after they bought an even nicer $16 million house (with a better view) in SF (that was once owned by Star Wars director George Lucas)…

    http://sfist.com/2013/10/21/feinstein_manse_on_the_market_in_pr.php

    P.P.S. to Don sfist is NOT a “right wing” site…

  15. TrueBlueDevil

    A few new items I learned this morning about our “torture” techniques.

    1. Water boarding takes 3 – 5 seconds.

    2. It was administered by a doctor.

    3. The Democratic Inquisition didn’t interview Dr. James Mitchell, who conducted the water boarding.

    4. The female radio anchor was water boarded as part of her journalistic ethos.

    5. The Democrats cherry picked from 6 million documents to compile their report.

    6. These CIA personnel and this doctor now live in fear of retribution, and when the Dr. was water boarding KSM, KSM told him, ‘Your liberal media will turn on you, just wait. Your own people won’t support you.’ (Source was Brian Sussman from San Francisco)

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for